Lines of grey muttering faces, masked with fear, They leave their trenches, going over the top, While time ticks blank and busy on their wrists, And hope, with furtive eyes and grasping fists, Flounders in mud. O Jesus, make it stop! — Siegfried Sassoon. Implausible as it might seem, it was the violent protest of a group of Bosnian high school students that sparked World War I.
Imperialism & war
The Palestine Action Group released the following statement on April 9. * * * Today, April 9, we remember 67 years since the Deir Yassin massacre. Over 100 Palestinians were murdered, with many children left orphaned. Palestinians soon began to leave their homes after witnessing such atrocities, even before the mass exodus that came with the Nakba. And still 67 years on, the effects of diaspora are being felt harshly by Palestinians. After being forced to flee their homeland, Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp are under attack yet again.
Günter Grass, who was one of Germany’s most important post-war novelists, died on April 13 at the age of 87 in the town of Lübeck, in northern Germany. Grass was perhaps most famous for his 1959 book The Tin Drum, a novel that embodied fantastical elements in its critique of Weimar and Nazi Germany. As such, his style bore resemblances to Latin America’s genre of magical realism. In 1979, the book was turned into an Academy Award winning film by Volker Schlöndorff, which won the Oscar for best foreign film.
Internationally awarded Uruguayan author and journalist Eduardo Galeano died on April 13 of lung cancer at age 75 in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. Born September 3, 1940, Galeano was author of about 35 books, including 1971’s Open Veins of Latin America, which details how Western powers have exploited Latin America and its resources for centuries. It became a bestseller overnight after the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez handed the book a Barack Obama during the fifth Summit of the Americas in 2009.
Fears over the safety of the 18,000 civilians trapped in Yarmouk, south of the Syrian capital of Damascus, have grown following reports that the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group has taken control of large areas of the Palestinian refugee camp. The IS, notorious for its brutal execution of hostages in the areas it occupies in Iraq and Syria, infiltrated Yarmouk camp on April 1.
The Inconvenient Genocide: Who Remembers the Armenians? Geoffrey Robertson QC, Vintage Books, Sydney, 294 pages, 2014 On the eve of Nazi Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland, Adolf Hitler urged his generals “to kill without mercy men, women and children of the Polish race or language”. “Only in such a way will we win [what] we need,” Hitler said. “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians.” The Nazi leader was referring to the genocide carried out by the Ottoman Turkish empire in 1915 against the Armenian people within its borders.
The United States is providing crucial support to regional ally Saudi Arabia ― a big buyer of US arms ― as it launches a new war in the Middle East by attacking neighbouring Yemen. A Saudi-led coalition of Western-aligned, mainly Sunni Islamist, Arab government's launched air, naval and ground military offensive against Yemen on March 25. Saudi Arabian forces are being supported by military planes from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Egypt, which is also supplying naval forces.
A group of Australian academics, unionists, politicians, and others have urged the US to “stop interfering in Venezuela’s domestic affairs”. More than 70 prominent Australian progressives issued an open letter to US President Barack Obama condemning US sanctions against Venezuela on April 9. The letter, initiated by the Venezuelan Solidarity Campaign in Melbourne, is printed below. The letter was handed to US consulates in Sydney and Melbourne on April 10. * * * No more coups! No more interventions! Repeal the Executive Order! Dear Mr President,
Terrorists from Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab massacred 142 students at Garissa University in northern Kenya on April 2. In response, the Kenyan airforce bombed what they said were al-Shabaab camps in Somalia on April 5 and 6. Kenyan forces have been occupying Somalia since October 2011, under African Union (AU) auspices, along with troops from Uganda and Burundi. On April 7, students protested in Garissa and the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, against the seven-hour delay in security forces reaching the university during the attack.
Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights has released two reports documenting the deterioration of Palestinian health under occupation. Divide and Conquer documents the deterioration of Palestinian health in the West Bank and Gaza as the direct consequence of ongoing Israeli military occupation.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, along with his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales, received a petition with 10 million signatures against U.S. President Barack Obama's executive order labelling the country as a “security treat” on April 9. After the decree was issued, Maduro launched a campaign seeking 10 million signatures from Venezuelans demanding the decree be repealed, saying he would present them to the U.S. President Barack Obama at the April 10-11 Summit of the Americas in Panama.
US President Barack Obama admitted on April 9 that Venezuela “does not pose a threat” to the United States. “We do not believe that Venezuela poses a threat to the United States, nor does the United States threaten the Venezuelan government,” Obama said during an interview with EFE. Last month, Obama signed an executive order declaring Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”